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2024 NFL draft: 6 realistic options for Bills in first round

The Buffalo Bills will make the 28th pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. The Bills have several needs to round out their roster. With a pending salary cap crunch, it’s vital that the Bills make the most of this year’s draft. Even more so, it’s essential that Buffalo finds a difference-maker with their first-round pick.

We examined the Bills’ depth chart and ran several mock drafts to see which players will most likely be available to fit Buffalo’s needs at the No. 28 draft slot. Here are six options that realistically will be available for the Bills in the first round:

Brian Thomas, Jr. | WR | LSU

Brian Thomas Jr (11) pick six and scores a touchdown as the LSU Tigers take on the the Army Black Knights in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October. 21, 2023.
Brian Thomas Jr (11) pick six and scores a touchdown as the LSU Tigers take on the the Army Black Knights in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October. 21, 2023.

Brian Thomas, Jr. is a name that Bills draft fanatics are becoming familiar with. At 6-4, 205 pounds, Thomas, Jr. provides a massive receiving frame for quarterbacks. Thomas, Jr. has the makings of a future No. 1 receiver. He is great in all areas of the field. The LSU produce does a great job of breaking press coverage. Thomas, Jr. also can get over the top of defenses on go routes as well. Thomas, Jr. broke out last year with 68 receptions; 1,177 receiving yards; and 17 touchdown receptions.

Keon Coleman | WR | Florida State

Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Keon Coleman (4) sprints down the field towards the end zone. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Miami Hurricanes 27-20 on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.
Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Keon Coleman (4) sprints down the field towards the end zone. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Miami Hurricanes 27-20 on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

Coleman is another receiver with great size and catch radius. Coleman made several spectacular catches last season. He uses his 6-4 frame to win contested catches over cornerbacks. Coleman also does a good with finding space and working back in the short-to-intermediate passing range. Coleman’s 2023 campaign concluded with 50 receptions for 658 yards and 11 touchdown receptions. He is in contention for immediate WR2 duty.

Troy Franklin | WR | Oregon

Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Franklin is an interesting case, as there were several mocks that had him off the board by the 28th pick. Still, there were enough that revealed that Franklin is a viable option for Buffalo in the first round. Franklin is a good route runner. He has great acceleration that puts cornerbacks in a compromised position. Franklin can break out and find separation easily. The Oregon product had a massive 2023 season, registering 81 receptions; 1,383 receiving yards; and 14 touchdowns.

Adonai Mitchell | WR | Texas

Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (5) catches a touchdown pass against Washington Huskies running back Ryder Bumgarner (25) during the fourth quarter in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (5) catches a touchdown pass against Washington Huskies running back Ryder Bumgarner (25) during the fourth quarter in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell has great quickness and is a fluid route runner. He’s another big receiver with a large catch radius. Mitchell also breaks out with strong yards after catch numbers. His ability to change directions gives him an edge in the short-to-intermediate game. Mitchell has great speed and would be a great complement to Diggs. He caught 55 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdown receptions last season.

Chop Robinson | DE | Penn State

Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson (44) reacts after sacking Massachusetts quarterback Taisun Phommachanh in the first half of a NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won, 63-0.
Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson (44) reacts after sacking Massachusetts quarterback Taisun Phommachanh in the first half of a NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won, 63-0.

If Buffalo decides to wait on drafting a wide receiver, they could select a defensive end. The Bills have pending free agents on the defensive line, so replenishing this unit will be on the radar in the draft. Robinson has great physical traits that should translate to the NFL game. He has elite explosiveness and power when meeting opposing tackles. The one concern: his production did not stand out, as Robinson registered only four sacks last year. However, the traits are intriguing for the next level.

Laiatu Latu | DE | UCLA

 

Latu is arguably the best pass-rusher in the class. He registered double-digit sack totals over the past two years, culminating with 13 last year. He plays with a high motor and has a wide array of pass rush moves. The major concern with Latu is a neck injury he suffered during 2020 preseason workouts. He was eventually cleared to play football, but he was forced to transfer from Washington to UCLA in order to return the field. If NFL teams feel he is beyond ready for professional competition, Latu could be a steal late in the first round.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire